“Some processed foods are good for you.”

Processed foods are almost anything you buy in boxes, cans, or bags. The longer the ingredient list, the more processed a food is likely to be.

It is true that some MINIMALLY processed foods are good for you, such as frozen fruits and frozen vegetables (without the added sauces) and whole grains such as rice and millet which are placed in containers (more about grains later).

However, most of the processed foods consumed in the United States, items like breakfast cereal, chips, and packaged dessert cakes, are loaded with sugar or unhealthy types of fats, salt, and/or chemical additives. Research shows that our brains can get addicted to the taste of these items.  Food manufacturers know this too! The body is not designed to break down and use these chemical additives, some types of fats, and excessive quantities of salt and sugar. This inability can lead to digestive problems, and eventually obesity, heart disease, diabetes, inflammatory diseases (any disease that ends in “–itis” such as colitis, arthritis, etc.), and/or numerous other health issues for countless individuals.

Processed meats are those preserved by smoking, curing or salting, or the addition of chemical preservatives. This includes bacon, ham, pastrami, salami, pepperoni, hot dogs, some sausages and hamburgers (if they have been preserved with salt or chemical additives) and more. The nitrates used as preservatives in these meats as well as the smoking process have been linked to cancer particularly when they are subjected to high heat such as grilling or frying.

If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it. If you don’t know what an ingredient is or you can’t buy it as a single item in the grocery store, your body most likely won’t be able to recognize it as food and metabolize it. Eat foods the way they come out of the ground, for example, eat a potato, not boxed potato flakes.  The best practice is to prepare fresh, whole foods at home. Prepare sufficient quantities so you have leftovers for school and work meals.